Eoin Morgan has called for better intent and more clarity from his Kolkata Knight Riders' team-mates, following their fourth loss in five games in IPL 2021. Speaking after the six-wicket defeat to the Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede, he said his side had ended up "40 short" after leaving themselves with too much to do in the back-end of their innings.
"I think we lacked a lot of intent and impetus throughout our whole innings," Morgan said at the post-match presentation. "We were sort of behind the eight ball probably from the get-go. Rajasthan adapted to the wicket really well and we didn't. So I would say the majority [of the issues] was with the bat. About 40 short, which is a lot in a T20 game. Too much for our bowlers [to make up for] tonight."
The Knight Riders, asked to bat first at the Wankhede Stadium, managed only two boundaries in the powerplay and the innings never really gained momentum from there, finishing on 133 for 9. There were coming off a defeat to the Chennai Super Kings at the same venue; in that game they stumbled to 31 for 5 inside the powerplay, before stunning counterattacks from Andre Russell and then Pat Cummins took them to within 19 runs of the target of 221. According to Morgan, while this track was not as easy to bat on, he wanted more from his batters.
"It was almost a stark contrast to the last game. We had guys who built partnerships [this time] that just lacked a bit of intent. I think the wicket today wasn't as good as it has been here at the Wankhede in the previous games, so that was a challenge in itself, and a challenge that we didn't overcome. So [we left] ourselves with a lot to do.
"Every time we seemed to take an attacking option we lost a wicket which is disappointing, and at the back end of our innings, it leaves us with a lot to do - which we didn't obviously do."
The Knight Riders now move to the Motera in Ahmedabad - "hopefully a venue that suits us" - where they will take on the Punjab Kings on April 26 and try to lift themselves off the bottom of the points table. Morgan is hoping they marry "smart cricket" with "free-flowing cricket" in order to achieve that.
"I think the clearer the mind, the easier it is. I think the capabilities of our side [is not an issue]… There is an element of playing smart cricket and building partnerships within that, but ultimately we want guys to play some free-flowing cricket. That wasn't there today unfortunately."